How do you take care of your car- that huge financial investment you made? When you’re buying it, the dealers make it seem simple. Just pour some miracle liquid into the crank case, sprinkle magic dust on the paint and spray some wonder water on the interiors. But there’s so much more to car maintenance.
What makes the difference is maintenance. Taking good care of your car can make you the proud owner of a shiny, long-lasting and reliable machine [whether or not it’s a Toyota]. Here are a few tips that can come handy to keep your car on the road, which everyone needs to know, including my editor:
Check and change the oil regularly. Nothing can keep your engine healthy except regular oil and filter change. Not keeping a close eye on your engine’s oil level can have disastrous outcomes [Picture yourself standing on a busy road with your broken-down car bellowing gobs of smoke out of the engine]. You may want to change your oil every 6 months or 5,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or showing signs of excessive wear. No, not the belt you wear – the belt that runs the alternator, water pump, power-steering pump, and air-conditioning compressor. These can cause the engine to overheat and cause problems with you electrical charging system [battery dies]. So, if you see signs of wear and tear, take it to the service station immediately [before you have to pay big bucks for internal repair].
Flush the coolant system and change the coolant once a year. Before taking your wife out on a long drive to another emirate, make sure you check the coolant systems and refill it to avoid your car overheating mid-way through a romantic trip.
Check the wiper rubber before every winter and change it when needed so you can see clearly even when it’s foggy. People who commute daily between two emirates for their jobs [AD-Dxb-Shj commuters, I’m looking at you!] surely know the pain of having a bad wiper, especially during winter, so watch out.
For when you don’t want to use wipers, put on the re-circulation button shown on the right hand side. Lower and raise the temperature in your car to match the outside.
Make it your habit to check your tires daily for tire pressure and tread. Watch out for bulges and bald spots, and be aware whenever your car needs a wheel alignment. Since the UAE has a very rough summer climate (not forgetting the high-speed highways), the tires tend to get damaged sooner than expected. Keeping a good check on your tires can help you get through your journey without the fear of getting your tire ruptured. Moreover, remember to keep the air pressure at the optimum level, for maximum performance.
Wash your car once every week. While washing the outside of the car is important, similarly almost everything the car ran over could be stuck underneath. Dropping by a petrol station’s manual wash can be a great idea.
Keeping your car’s paint job shining can be a tough task – the color of the car can fade away due to the scorching heat. Buy quality wax for your car and apply wax at least every six months [if you don’t know how to do this, refer here].
As for the interiors, make sure you park your car in a shade every afternoon, use a window deflector and use high quality UV protection for your car. This prevents the plastic, leather and vinyl from retiring way too early.
Check the HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning system) at regular intervals as it is critical for interior comfort. It’s unimaginable torture to sit in a car without air conditioning in July-August in the U.A.E [Fine, it’s not unimaginable torture, but it’s pretty bad].
Select a reliable car insurance provider. No matter how careful you are, damage and wear/tear is inevitable. Choose a car insurance provider who replaces damaged parts with original parts from the manufacturer and can give you guarantee on repairs.
Keep these simple car care tips in mind for your own safety and for the safety of others around you. When you do your part in caring for and maintaining your car, you will be rewarded with a vehicle you can rely on for years to come [and your life, and less time on the road and a well-functioning air-conditioning system].
Every moving part of machinery requires proper lubrication and oiling. Get yourself into the daily habit of oiling certain important parts of your car. You can get a detailed guide on this in the owner’s manual of your car.